New Pollock Dining Commons offers more than just variety

Students returning to campus last week stepped into a different Pollock Dining Commons from what they remembered. Over the summer, the dining commons underwent renovations to update the building's infrastructure, accommodate more students and offer a new menu of choices.

Over the past four years, Campus Dining closed two of its dining halls (McElwain and Simmons) to make bed space for campus housing. Each of the former dining halls now houses 74 students, but Campus Dining needed more space to feed the students who frequented those two halls. With more space and an up-to-date floor plan, the new Pollock is designed to do just that.

"You can tell (the organizers) put a lot of thought into how it was going to work and where people can go," Amana Kriskazi, a student employee at Pollock, said." I think people are walking in surprised. It all looks very good."

Pollock is open all week during the semester for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and brunch and dinner on the weekends. Seven stations offer a huge variety of choices for students. Diners can choose from Italian specialties and pizza at Gusto, coffee, crepes and desserts at Swirl, made-to-order stir-fry and omelets at Plate, salads and paninis at Leaf and much more.

While enjoying lunch on Friday of arrival weekend, Frank Bruner chatted with his daughter Avery about the immense array of choices. The two sat at high tables in an area of Pollock with walls featuring retro comic book art. He said when he was a Penn State student, there wasn't anything like this.

"When I came here, you could eat at one place, and that was it," he said. "This is just phenomenal."

Avery, who moved into Pollock Halls over the weekend, added that she was impressed by the many different options available and looks forward to frequenting the dining hall.

"It's very neat," she said. "You get to choose what you like. Like there's something for everybody."

Many of the healthier recipes and menus from Simmons Dining Hall are featured at Pollock, including a soup, grain and hot veggie bar, vegetarian and vegan dishes and fat free dressings and condiments, as well as gluten-free selections. Visit the Campus Dining website to view menus, hours, and learn more about what Pollock offers.

"I've never seen anything like this before," freshmen Garrett Scanlon said. "I'm excited. I think I'll be here a lot."

Built in 1959, Pollock was a traditional cafeteria-style dining commons. With the new setup, students enjoy shorter lines and more variety. There is seating designed to create a more intimate atmosphere so students can sit with friends or study or dine alone in many areas around the dining room. The renovation also included an update to the building's infrastructure, and improvements to equipment, electrical wiring and plumbing were made.

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Last Updated August 29, 2011